FREE MEALS AND CRAVINGS
Most people can’t wait to have a free meal, while others fear them. Whether or not you choose to have a free meal should really depend on how you respond to them. If you are craving sweets, then you’re not ready for a free meal.
It is important to nourish your body with healthy food and feel a sense of liberation from cravings before introducing free meals.
The reason for this is, after following any diet plan you may be very sensitive to various ingredients in a free meal, such as sugar and fat, and this may lead to an uncontrollable cravings and binge-eating. If you establish a consistently healthy diet (as per the Meal Plan), have maintained your weight for at least one month and don’t really feel the need for a free meal, then you’re probably ready to add a free meal.
If you decide to have a free meal, choose something that you really like, have a normal amount of it andenjoy! Thengobacktoyourusualfoodplanatthenextmeal. Weighyourselfthenextdayandif youhavegainedweight,doaProtein-OnlyDayorreducecarbohydratesforafewdays,ifneeded. Be sure you return to your new weight – and feel stable - before you have your next free meal.
If you’re sensitive to carbohydrates, you may experience overwhelming cravings (see below) and one free meal can turn into consistent over-eating and inevitable weight gain with time. If cravings or bingeing occur after a free meal, then do a Protein-Only Day (only ONE) and go back to the usual Meal Plan. Eat plenty of vegetables and healthy fats, and drink tea with lemon and grated turmeric and ginger to detoxify. Do not try to compensate by starving yourself, as that will just make the cravings worse. You
may also benefit from extra supplements in order to bring you back to nourished and satisfied state (see “Supplements”).
WHY AM I CRAVING?
Cravings are intrusive urges to eat when you’re not physically hungry. They are usually triggered bystress, nutritional deficiencies, starvation, hormones, boredom, loneliness or exposure to food that you associate with a positive feeling. Cravings are potentiated by an imbalance in certain hormones and neurotransmitters and this can be overwhelming for the brain. Theyaremorelikelytooccurif you have a nutrient deficiency, chronic medical condition or insomnia. If you don’t manage these factors, chances are you won’t be able to manage the cravings when they start.
Here’s a brief explanation of the main hormones and neurotransmitters involved in cravings and howto manage them...
HOW TO MANAGE CRAVINGS
Stopping a craving once it begins can be almost impossible, so the best option is to prevent them altogether. Uncontrollablecravingsareusuallycausedbyphysiologicalprocesses(nutrient deficiencies, hormonal abnormalities, medical conditions and starvation) rather than psychological ones, so it’s important to focus on physiological health initially.
Establish a healthy balanced eating plan with 3 meals and if needed, up to snacks a day.
Each meal should contain:
1 serving of a low GI carbohydrate
1 serving of protein
1 serving of fat
Unlimited non-starchy vegetables
Choose healthy food in its most natural form as toxins will worsen cravings.
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied but not full.
Eliminate all foods that you know will trigger extreme cravings or over-eating.
Always carry healthy snacks such as raw vegetables, fruit, eggs or nuts, just in case...
Drink at least 1.5L of still wateraday. Abstainfromover-eatingatalltimes. A“free meal” should be of normal size.
Never starve yourself or skip meals to compensate for over-eating.
Exercise daily to increase serotonin levels but avoid over-exercising.
Take supplements to prevent deficiencies and support cellular processes.
Learn to meditate and practice it daily.
When your body is in balance, so is your mind. There is growing evidence with regard to the significant effect that food has on mental health. This is why it is CRUCIAL to develop a healthy diet and eating patterns, to ensure long-term success as well as physical and psychological well-being.